We’ve all heard that content is king. Nearly every business has a website (especially now) and in order to be found online, many companies are looking for freelance writers to create content for them. This might mean writing blog posts, newsletters, case studies and the like. Often freelance writers will be asked to put together a content proposal for a client. So, what is a content proposal and what do you need to put in one to ensure you have the best chance of landing a content writing gig?
What freelance writers should include in a content proposal
At its core, a content proposal is a document that outlines what the client wants and how you (the freelance writer) will deliver it.
When I first started out as a freelance writer I found that after an initial phone call with a potential client, writing a proposal could still take a fair bit of time, even if it was just a one page services proposal.
I spent a lot of time looking for content proposal samples, but never found anything that was perfect.
I bought a few different content proposal templates and over time I tweaked, added and adjusted them to fit my needs.
Before you write your proposal …
Before you start your content proposal, you need to wrestle with one of the trickiest questions that freelance writers get asked: What’s your rate?
If you can, steer away from hourly rates.
I know of too many instances where writers are told their hourly rate is too high only for the same writer to translate that into a per blog rate.
What happens? The client doesn’t bat an eyelid!
Kate Toon has an excellent resource for copywriters wondering how much they should charge, but I’ve found that most mid-level freelance writers charge between $75 – $110/hour.
This doesn’t mean that you quote that rate to the client, but it helps you work out what your overall rate per project will be.
First work out how long the content will take you to write (building in a contingency per cent just in case).
Then multiply that by your hourly rate and quote that as your overall rate (specifying how many words or a range of words).
I know that’s quite a lot of information, so to make it a bit clearer here’s a real life example:
A few years ago I was ghostwriting 400- 500 word blog posts for a corporate client (who found me on LinkedIn).
I charged him $280+GST.
The client initially thought this was pretty high and I felt it was on the low side!
But this client ran a small business so he wanted to ensure that it was a worthwhile investment.
This is key.
The value is not necessarily in the dollar (or pound or krona or Euro) amount, but how you communicate the value of your content.
4 items that must be in your content proposal
In explaining the value your writing can bring, you need to include these 4 things in your content proposals.
1. The client’s problem or focus and how your content will ‘solve’ or address their problem.
For example, the client wants to rank more highly on Google and raise customer awareness of their product or service. Therefore they want a rewrite of their website.
2. The scope of the services they want
For example, the client wants you to rewrite existing content for their home page and their ‘about’ page including long-tail keywords, tags and meta descriptions. Here you include things like how many interviews, research required, how many rounds of edits, if any social media snippets are included and so on.
3. The cost
This is where you provide a quote/your rate (ideally a flat fee) for the different offers you have. Some writers like to include a discount for ongoing work or more than 5 articles.
How you will move forward if they agree to your quote. Be sure to include your payment terms.
Things to consider
Think about whether you’ll write SEO optimised content (e.g. you could ask the client for the keywords that they want to rank for in Google) and if you’ll include hyperlinks to high authority sites.
If you think your rate will be knocked back you can always present a proposal with a more expensive option and a cheaper second option where you cut out some of the offerings (such as interviews or social media snippets).
I also offer clients a ‘block’ of blog articles, so that they can purchase 5 blogs x 500 words at a slightly reduced rate.
You also want to make sure that the person you are talking to is the person who has the ultimate approval.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had conversations with potential clients about the reason why they want to create content.
It’s worth asking about the results clients want to see before you submit your content proposal. Are they aiming to educate their audience, grow a readership, raise awareness, sell more products? Who is their audience? How will they know if the content is having the desired effect?
I’ve found that the clients who have a clear idea of what they want to achieve with the content are more likely to be better communicators (hence give you clear briefs) and are likely to stick with you in the long term.
Do you write content proposals? Do you have any other tips for what to include in a proposal for a potential client?